Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Engineers Without Borders Break Down Barriers at Summer Retreat

Hello out there recent high school graduates! Congratulations and welcome to the world after high school!

One of the cool things about university is all the opportunities that come your way. If you thought you had access to many cool clubs, teams and organizations in high school, wait until you get to Mac!

Daniela and her fellow EWB members at the end of their retreat.
Daniela (bottom left) and her fellow EWBers at the end of their retreat.
Since I started at Mac, I have been involved in the organization Engineers Without Borders (EWB). It’s a national organization with chapters in universities, companies and cities across the country. Some of the work we do in Canada is focused on engaging high school students to think about the impact they have on the world, promoting fair trade, influencing engineering curriculum, and lobbying the government concerning development issues.

With so many ventures and members across the country, summer provides us EWBers with an opportunity to get together and talk about the work different chapters are doing and plan for the coming school year. During the Canada Day long weekend, the Ontario and Atlantic chapters got together in Paris, Ontario and had three days of intense discussion and planning. It’s great to unplug and get thinking with loads of flip chart paper, markers and post-its!

In this session, groups were having a discussion around different 
types of aid: market-based, needs-based and rights-based. 
One of my favourite sessions was the Agricultural Extension FarmVillage activity, where participants learn about some of the challenges that farmers face in rural Ghana, Africa. When I was a Junior Fellow (short-term volunteer) in Ghana with EWB, I was part of the Agricultural Extension team, so this session gave me a chance to share a bit of my experience. (Check out the blog, Let's Go Black Stars!, I wrote while I was in Ghana in 2011.)

Something that is really awesome about EWB is that the co-founder & CEO, George Roter, comes out to these retreats and participates with us! We even have a tradition called "Q&A", where we all gather together and can ask him whatever questions we have about the organization. As students, we play a fundamental role in what EWB does. It’s pretty cool!

If you want to learn more about EWB, shoot me a comment or look me up when you get here in September! We’ll be at Clubs Fest and Eng Fest, events where all campus and engineering clubs have sign-up booths.

Later days,

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